A COMPETITION AUTHORITY PERSPECTIVE
Carole Champalaune (Deputy General Rapporteur, Competition Authority)
Since Act No. 2001-420 of 15 May 2001 on new economic regulations, the Competition Authority has had at its disposal, among the tools of competition regulation, a procedure known as the procedure for non-contestation of grievances, which allows companies that request the benefit of this procedure to obtain a reduction in the financial penalty they incur after the legal ceiling has been halved, with the Authority for its part benefiting from an accelerated procedure that promotes the optimization of its resources in the treatment of anti-competitive practices.
Amended by Order 2008-1161 of 13 November 2008 on the modernisation of competition regulation, which abolished the obligation for an undertaking wishing to benefit from it to present commitments, likely to encourage its use, and which is now more flexible, this procedure, provided for in Article L. 464-2-III of the French Commercial Code, has seen its conditions of implementation reinforced and clarified by a press release of 10 February 2012, summarising the decision-making practice of the Council and then of the Competition Authority and the interpretation of the courts of appeal. This summary, supported by the press release of 16 May 2011 on the procedures for determining financial penalties, allows companies to define, in full knowledge of the facts, both as regards the scope of their waiver to contest the objections and the conduct of the procedure, but also the percentage (in principle up to a maximum of 25%) of reduction of the penalty that they can expect on a more predictable basis, their strategy of recourse to this procedure or not, as it is at their sole initiative.